Lhasa highlighted Tourist Attractions-Sera Monastery
The Sera Monastery (founded in 1419 by Jamchen Chojey of Sakya Yeshe, disciple of Tsongkhapa) is just located at the foot of Tatipu Hill,located 1.25 miles (2.01 km) north of Lhasa and about 5 km (3.1 mi) north of the Jokhang and it is about 6 km to the northeast direction of Potala Palace. It is famous for the Buddhism activities of” Monks Debate” which happens in afternoon from Monday to Saturday. This is one highlight attraction for travel in Lhasa Tibet.
Admission Fee: CNY 50; Opening Hours: 9 am -4 pm; Recommended time to visit: 3 pm to 5 pm; Recommended day in a week to visit: Monday to Saturday
Sera Monastery is one of three famous Gelugpa or Yellow Hat Sect monasteries in Lhasa. The other two are Drepung Monastery and the Ganden Monastery. The Gelugpa or Yellow Hat Sect is branch of Tibetan Buddhism which was founded by Tsong Khapa. Jamchen Chojey, one of Tsong Khapa's disciples built the monastery in 1419 during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). The monastery was named Sera which refers to wild rose in the Tibetan language, because the hill behind it was covered with wild roses in bloom when the monastery was built.
The magnificent Sera Monastery covers an area of 114,946 square meters (28 acres). There are three main buildings which are called Coqen Hall, Zhacang (college) and Kamcun (dormitory). There are scriptures written in gold powder, fine statues, scent cloth and unparalleled murals in these halls. Colorful debates on Buddhist doctrines are held here every afternoon except for Sunday and this is distinctive from the other famous monasteries. In the history, it housed more than 6000 monks but since 2008, there are no more than 550 monks living here.
The road from downtown Lhasa to Sera Monastery is well paved city road and it takes about 10 minutes driving. Nowadays many tourists ride bikes or take public buses to visit this famous tour attraction. Sometimes there are even some outdoor adventures that do the hiking trip as there are good hiking trails to Pabongka.
Sera Monastery Cultural sightseeing travel tips:
1. Similar with the Shoton festival celebration in Drepung Monastery, every year there is Buddha-Unfolding Festival here in Sera Monastery too. This is a fantastic occasion to worship the Buddha which is open to both locals and tourists.
2. The only celestial burial place in Lhasa is on the hill behind the Sera Monastery. However, visitors are not allowed to witness a celestial burial due to the local customs.
3. Sera Monastery “Monks Debate” is generally from 3 pm to 5 pm, and tourists need to leave their hotel around 2:30 pm with their tour guide and driver.